Monday, 24 February 2014

Praying for Albert, Day 6

With so much positive progress so far I guess we had to have a day where Albert went backwards. Today was that day. Overnight I had two calls from medical staff at the hospital. Albert's breathing had remained more or less constant, dropping slightly back to 0.2 litres of oxygen input via the low flow, and his feeding is holding steady. The problem was that Albert's blood had registered an alarming drop in platelet levels and I was asked to authorise another transfusion just before midnight last night.

Platelets are part of our blood that is involved in the clotting of blood. If the platelet levels fall too low, bleeding can occur with only small traumas (a bump or a small cut) or even spontaneously, possibly within organs or other vital areas of the body. Albert needs to maintain a healthy level of platelets or he could start bleeding in his liver, lungs or brain, which would be disastrous.

This has been treated in the short term by a platelet transfusion but, given that this is the second transfusion in his short life, the haematologists will begin a range of tests today (Monday) to try and identify the problem. Albert must be able to maintain his own platelet levels in order to be discharged.

In spite of this, Albert slept and fed well through the night and is still ticking along at about 0.2 litres of oxygen via the low flow tubes. He is still managing a small amount (about 20-25ml) via bottle but this amount is not increasing yet. He seems too weak at present to push past that amount of sucking. He is a little jaundiced, but apparently below the level that triggers special treatment for jaundice so far.

I was allowed to hold Albert briefly again (even thinking about it now brings the biggest goofiest smile to my face) and Susan was able to offer Albert his first attempt at breast feeding. He seemed interested but was so weak and sleepy that he never really achieved attachment. It was such a beautiful thing to see him try, even if it hurt to see him too weak to manage.

The doctor told us that his progress is still 'pleasing' and the pressing concern at the moment is the platelets. I asked what was preventing him from coming home. They admitted that his heart, his oxygen saturation levels and feeding are also serious matters. The difference is that the heart can hold for a few months and the doctors can compensate for the breathing and feeding issues by pushing whatever is necessary into Albert via various tubes until he can manage on his own.

So, the prayer list today is:
(1) That the hole in Albert's heart begins to close naturally this week.
(2) That the haematologists discover the cause of Albert's blood problems and begin treatment.
(3) That Albert's breathing stabilises so that he can breathe without assistance.
(4) That Albert begins to learn how to feed naturally.

If these conditions are met, Albert may be moved into a ward, possibly in a hospital closer to us, and his progress towards natural feeding can begin in earnest.

Once again we want to express our heartfelt thanks for the generous and practical support so many of you have provided. Susan has commented several times today that it makes a huge difference not to have to worry about meals and shopping. A special thanks to the people who have helped with the children over the past week. It has been a great comfort to know they are well cared for while we attend to Albert. We thank God each day for such good people!

1 comment:

chimakuni said...

Continued prayers, Peter - I wish I was there to help out with the children, but alas ... I will do it with prayers for their safety and those who are assisting in the minding of them...